A dedication to saving lives
Not Lisa Hess is both a volunteer firefighter and the woman to call if one finds a critter in distress in their backyard.
The Aloha native and current Beaverton resident has volunteered with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue for the past five years, assisting with fire and medical calls as a certified emergency medical technician.
Hess also has a passion for animal advocacy, volunteering and working with Fur Love Haven, Portland Dachshund Rescue, Magnolia Mutts, Rose City Rabbit Rescue, PDX Cat Trapper, Northwest Animal Companions, River Song Foundation, and Turtle Mountain Animal Rescue over the years.
While Hess is modest in her volunteer efforts, she is happy to give back to a community she loves living in, and her work with TVF&R and the multiple animal rescue agencies fulfills her passions.
Hess is the only female in the role of firefighter volunteer at TVF&R and takes pride in being able to inspire others through this role.
“So when we go to events, there are little girls who are, ‘Look, mom, there’s a girl.’ So that really fills my cup,” Hess said.
In addition to her volunteer work with the fire agency, animal advocacy has been a large part of life for Hess and her partner, Amy Padilla, since they began fostering animals in their own home.
“A few years ago, I got an email notice from (social media site) NextDoor about a dog, and so I went on there, and it was from Fur Love Haven, and they’re, ‘We have this dog down in Fresno in a high-kill shelter, and they’re gonna put him to sleep in four hours,’” Hess said. “And I’m watching this video of this terrified dog who’s licking this lady’s face like ‘Please save me,’ and I was, ‘Oh my god, I need to get this dog.’”
While Padilla wasn’t thrilled with the addition of the 100-pound dog Hess had brought back to their household, the two fell in love with the dog and still have him years later. The couple regularly fosters animals, but similar to the case of this pooch, they sometimes get attached and end up keeping them.
“I would say Lisa’s love for the animals and want to protect them all and save them all inspires me. I mean, all the way down to her first fire call,” Padilla said.
Padilla refers to one of Hess’s first volunteer firefighter calls with TVF&R, where a cat was found during a North Plains fire. Hess ended up throwing it in a laundry basket and bringing it down to the vet herself, where she and a couple of friends fronted the bill after the owner’s family had lost everything in the fire.
“Just being able to know that I helped find these animals a home or get them pulled from a shelter. Help pay the bills and get them fixed or whatever it is, I just love doing that,” Hess said.
Hess’s can-do attitude towards animal rescue has made her the neighborhood point-person on all things critters. She has assisted with a raccoon retrieval from a local park and even stumbled upon a bunny needing help on a neighborhood walk.
In addition to these impromptu animal encounters, Hess enjoys her involvement with the local animal rescue organizations and urges others to help.
“Please adopt, don’t shop,” Hess said. “Reach out to your local shelter or rescue to ask how you can help. There are so many things they could use help doing, like walking dogs or even doing laundry.”